top of page

Manifesto for Musicianship

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

The Art and Science of Music-Making

Johnny Marr has spent the last four decades blending the art and science of his craft as a musical pioneer by connecting to the chords of our soul, influencing popular culture, inspiring thousands of musicians, and affecting millions of people's lives through his music.

I spent two glorious summer days with Johnny, in his industrial chic converted factory studio in Manchester to produce the documentary "Creativity in the Digital Age," about his creative process, why sustained creativity is a true differentiator, and how he has been able to regularly break through the status quo and embolden others to do it by becoming a role model for true ingenuity.

Johnny Marr's manifesto for music-making is:

1 Imagination

A dreamer, maker, and doer who expresses himself by using the guitar as a wand to turn his imagination into art. Technology innovation has helped democratize the music-making process and influenced how he works by enabling him to experiment and bring ideas to life, which helped him develop his own style and liberate as an artist.

"Imagination and the human heart and the human spirit, which is the thing that goes into those ones and zeros, and manipulates them, sometimes brilliantly, and sometimes accidentally, into a piece of work that the other humans can react to."

Photo credit: Mat Bancroft & Ben Thornley @ Sitcom Soldiers

2 Do-It-Yourself

Marr paid homage to his strong work ethic and doer ethos through Picasso's motto that: "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working."

Learning by doing in his own style, accepting failure, and persisting in the face of setback as his path to personal mastery.

Embracing who he is and living life in constant search for the fuel to inspire his creativity by following his own path to create without frontiers.

Photo credit: Roy Sharples

3 Craftsmanship

The pursuit of achieving greatness means being committed to your craft and be exceptional at it. Achieving peak performance means self-discipline and having a mindset that guides your choices, decisions, and actions. Making sacrifices to learn, grow, and develop essential skills.

"From the minute I could string a few chords together, I always saw the playing of an instrument as the pursuit of creating something. I use the guitar as a tool for creativity and making something artistic."

Photo credit: Mat Bancroft & Ben Thornley @ Sitcom Soldiers

4 Collaboration

Providing something new to the world means overturning the status quo by embracing originality and making unique connections between disparate universes to light the way into the future.

"The idea of feeling like you never know enough is an inspiring concept, and collaboration is a useful trigger for new experiences and inspiration."

Photo credit: Mat Bancroft & Ben Thornley @ Sitcom Soldiers

5 Mentorship

Stand on the shoulders of giants by learning from history, not reinventing the wheel, and seeking counsel from people you trust, respect, and admire. Positive role models share their skills, insights, and expertise to nurture your talent and accelerate your progress.

"We had a couple of producers in the early days, and I just watched those guys like a hawk, and in some ways, there were a couple of characters who became mentors to me. I was like a sponge trying to learn everything I could from these older people."

Photo credit: Roy Sharples

Watch the documentary "Creativity in the Digital Age"


Executive Producers: Roy Sharples and Steve Franklin. Art Direction: Mat Bancroft. Production Direction: Ben Thornley. Filmed by: Sitcom Soldiers. Artist Management: Sammi Wild and Gary Cohen, ATC Management.

Thank you:

Johnny Marr, Dave Cronen, Trust Management, Doviak, Iwan Gronow, Jack Mitchell, Natasha Kay-Sportelli, and Microsoft.


Roy Sharples

Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins, a creative studio on a mission to save the world from unoriginality by unleashing the power of creativity. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future."

Photo credit: Brian Smale

Attitude. Imagination. Execution.

Unknown Origins. All rights reserved © copyright 2021

1,135 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page